Eight of the top 10 and 25 of the top 30 in the current FedExCup standings are in the field for the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, including Nos. 1-4 (Bubba Watson, Luke Donald, Mark Wilson, Nick Watney). Seventeen players accounting for 19 of the 23 PGA TOUR victories are on hand at Muirfield Village GC.
Luke Donald has seven top 10s in eight PGA TOUR starts has posted 21 consecutive rounds of par or better entering the Memorial Tournament, the longest current streak on TOUR. The last over-par round posted by Donald was a 3-over-par 73 in the first round of The Honda Classic.
Steve Stricker enters the Memorial Tournament having made 32 consecutive cuts, the longest active streak on the PGA TOUR. The last cut Stricker missed came at the 2009 PGA Championship. Matt Kuchar is second with 27 consecutive made cuts.
Ten of the 22 stroke-play events on the PGA TOUR have resulted in sudden-death playoffs, including Keegan Bradley’s playoff win over Ryan Palmer at last week’s HP Byron Nelson Championship. The Memorial Tournament has the longest active playoff drought on the PGA TOUR. The last playoff at the Memorial was in 1992 when David Edwards defeated Rick Fehr with a par on the second extra hole.
After making the cut on the number (3-over-par 143) last week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, the defending champion Jason Day battled back to finish fifth. His weekend included a final-round 67 when the Sunday scoring average for the field was 73.162. Day totaled 22 birdies to lead the field, but was hampered by four holes of double-bogey or worse during the week.
Four of the eight first-time winners in 2011 have been rookies: Jhonattan Vegas (Bob Hope Classic), Charl Schwartzel (Masters Tournament), Brendan Steele (Valero Texas Open) and Keegan Bradley (HP Byron Nelson Championship). The record for most rookies winning in a season since 1970 is five in 2004: Todd Hamilton, Zach Johnson, Vaughn Taylor, Andre Stoltz and Ryan Palmer.
Following the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, Hunter Mahan will travel to Cleveland on Monday, June 6, where he will conduct his media day press conference as defending champion of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
With his win at the Senior PGA Championship, Tom Watson became the third-oldest winner in Champions Tour history at 61 years, 8 months, 25 days. He is also the oldest winner of a major championship on the Champions Tour since the Tour began in 1980. Hale Irwin previously held that distinction when he won the 2004 Senior PGA Championship, also at Valhalla GC, at age 59 years, 11 months, 28 days.
Tom Watson earned $360,000 with the Senior PGA victory as well as 720 points in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup race. With double points being awarded, Watson moved into second place in the race with 850 points. Tom Lehman leads with 1,432 points. Nick Price is third with 822 points.
Hale Irwin’s fourth-place finish at the Senior PGA was the 202nd top-10 finish of his Champions Tour career, one fewer than the all-time leader Bob Charles.
Sunday’s playoff at the Senior PGA Championship at Valhalla GC was the fourth consecutive one on the Champions Tour this year. The last time there were four straight playoffs was in 2005, the first of those was at the Senior PGA Championship at Laurel Valley GC when Mike Reid defeated Dana Quigley and Jerry Pate.
A friendly bet was made between two Champions Tour events last week. If the Binghamton Senators win this week’s Calder Cup, awarded annually to the playoff champion of the American Hockey League, the Insperity Championship will donate $2,500 to the Binghamton Senators’ charity of choice. If the Houston Aeros win, the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open will donate $2,500 to the Houston Aeros’ charity of choice. Additionally, if the Binghamton Senators win, the Insperity Championship will send 25 lbs. of Rudy’s Barbeque Brisket for the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open staff to enjoy. If Houston wins, the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open will send 25 lbs. of Lupo’s Spiedies to the Texas staff. Also, if the Binghamton Senators clinch the Calder Cup at home, the ticket stub from that game will be good for admission to the final round of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open on June 26.
The Principal Charity Classic will see two new-comers to the Champions Tour this week. John Huston turns 50 on June 1 and will make his debut at Glen Oaks CC. Huston won seven times on the PGA TOUR after joining the PGA TOUR in 1988. Damon Green, who caddies for Zach Johnson on the PGA TOUR, will make his first start on the Champions Tour after having finished T17 at last fall’s National Qualifying Tournament. Green has also caddied for Scott Hoch, who will make his first appearance in the Principal Charity Classic since 2008.
This year’s Principal Charity Classic field will have four professionals who also won the Memorial at Muirfield Village near Columbus, Ohio, this week’s PGA TOUR stop. Among the former Memorial champions teeing it up this year at The Principal Charity Classic are: Keith Fergus (1981), Hal Sutton (1986), Don Pooley (1987) and Bob Tway (1989).
24,000,000 – The number of dollars Tom Watson eclipsed in all time earnings with his Senior PGA win ($24,008,243).
NATIONWIDE TOURKeegan Bradley
became the third member of last year’s Nationwide Tour class of 25 graduates (and youngest at age 24) to win on the PGA TOUR this year, joining Jhonattan Vegas
(Bob Hope Classic) and Brendan Steele
(Valero Texas Open). Gary Woodland
, who played regularly on the Nationwide Tour last year before regaining his TOUR card at Qualifying School in December, also won this year on the PGA TOUR (Transitions Championship).Keegan Bradley’
s win was the 18th this year on the PGA TOUR by a former Nationwide Tour player (in 23 events played) and 306th overall.
Recently retired University of Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams
returns as host of this week’s Melwood Prince George’s County (Md.) Open for the second year.Nicholas Reach
, 18, earned a spot in this week’s Melwood Prince George’s County (Md.) Open as a result of winning the inaugural Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club in South Carolina on April 23. Reach, who is headed to the University of Georgia in the fall, played in the Nationwide Tour’s Northeast Pennsylvania Classic near his Moscow, Pa., home (Scranton area) in 2008 and 2009 as a sponsor exemption.
Every player who finished T19 or better at the HP Byron Nelson Championship last week was a Nationwide Tour alumnus....as were 59 of the 73 professionals who made the cut.